We know you have many questions about our glider flights.  Here are answers to most.Don't look back. You're not going that way. - Barbara Johnson
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Call for information about flights in Seattle May-September
(800) 734-3588

How long is the ride?

Our rides range from 45 minutes to 4 hours. (Custom flights are available.)

We know you have many questions about our glider flights.  Here are answers to most.
Click to See Our Gallery of Pictures

 

How much does it cost?

The price range is $100 - $200. See Buy a Ticket

 

Do you have gift certificates?

Yes. See Gift Certificates

 

Does my ticket or gift certificate expire?

Gift certificates need to be redeemed by approximately September 30, 2015.

 

Is there a money back guarantee?

Yes. Contact us for a refund.

 

How many passengers can fly at a time?

One. The glider is equipped to handle the pilot and one passenger.

 

Are the pilots certified?

Yes, all our pilots are licensed, experienced, FAA certified pilots.

 

Can I talk to the pilot?

Yes, you will set up that flight time directly with the pilot and can talk to him/her and ask questions.

 

Is it safe?

Glider flights are, indeed, safe. Our glider, the Grob Motorglider, uses its engine for take off and landing. The plane will be under the engine's control until the pilot reaches a safe gliding altitude. Then it will be turned off and soar silently. If the glider looses altitude, the pilot will restart the engine and return to a safe gliding altitude.

 

What is the maximum height for a passenger?

The glider can accommodate a person up to 6' 5" tall.

 

What is the minimum height a person can be and still see out the window?

There is no minimum height. A short person or child may not be able to see out the front, but the side windows are low enough for just about anyone to see out.

 

What is the maximum weight for a passenger?

The maximum passenger weight we can safely carry is 210 pounds. Please be sure to tell us when you schedule your flight if you are over 190 pounds so we can plan appropriately for a safe flight.

 

Will the passenger be allowed to control the plane?

The Grob Motorglider is equipped with dual control sticks. It will be up to the pilot whether or not the passenger will be allowed to control the plane.

 

Can I take a ride if I use a wheelchair?

Yes, we will gladly take a passenger who uses a wheelchair, without the chair, of course.

 

Can I take pictures?

You bet. Unlike some aircrafts, our glider was designed with a large clam shell window which surrounds you. This design gives you a wide view out both sides and straight up.

In addition to that, there are two port holes (openings), one on each side. These allow you to take pictures without having to shoot through the airplane widow. You photo quality will be vastly superior.

 

How do other gliders (those without engines) get airborne?

Unlike the Grob motorglider, motorless gliders are towed up, usually by a special winch, an automobile or an airplane. A bungee cord can also be used. However, since they don't have the ability to launch the glider very high, they are usually used to launch gliders out over a ridge.

 

Glider records

Grob motor glider record

In 1983, a Grob G109A motorglider extended the world altitude record to 21,018 feet (6,406 m) and an altitude gain to 16,544 feet (5,042 m). Gliding records for motorgliders were kept until 1998. At that time, motorgliders had achieved a straight out and back record of 670 miles (1,078 km), a maximum altitude of 34,138 feet (10,408 m) and an altitude gain of 32,587 feet (9,935 m).

All gliders

The current unpowered aircraft altitude record is about 50,700 ft (15,442 m) set on August 30, 2006 by Steve Fossett and Einar Enevoldson in a modified DG-500 that is now on display at the Museum of Flight in Seattle Washington. How does a glider fly 20,000 feet over the tallest mountain in the world? ... With mountain wave. (See an explanation of mountain wave below in the "Ridge Lift " section.)

The distance record for a glider is now over 1,800 miles (3,000 km).

 

What is the difference between gliding and soaring?

Soaring is the sport of riding up air currents without the use of an engine. Gliding is the process of succumbing to gravity, taking as long as possible and often flying an amazing distance. When soaring, you fly in natural sources of rising air that allow a glider to actually gain altitude. In the sport of soaring, you may find yourself gliding, as opposed to soaring, more than you may like. When soaring, pilots repeatedly find areas of lift to gain altitude allowing them to fly as far as 1,800 miles (3,000 km) in a day. Now that's traveling green.

 

What's the deal with rising air?

There are a few common sources of rising air - Thermals, Ridge Lift and Convergence Zones.

Thermals

Air rises when it is warmer, and therefore lighter, than the surrounding air. A thermal is a rising column of warmer air that was heated by the ground. It wants to rise through and be replaced by the cooler surrounding air. Thermals in the desert can provide very strong sources of lift to over 20,000 feet, whereas thermals in western Washington are much smaller and weaker. If you see a glider circling, it is trying to stay in the column of rising air.

Ridge Lift

Ridge lift occurs when a strong wind forces air up and over an obstacle like a long mountain ridge. In high winds when the atmosphere is stable, a ridge or mountain can cause a phenomenon known as mountain wave. The air in the mountain wave rises much, much higher than the mountain that caused the wave.

Convergence Zone

Rising air can also result from two air masses hitting each other head on (converging). This is a common phenomenon in the Everett, Washington area which causes some unusual weather patterns.

If there is moisture in the air, rising air will result in a cloud. Clouds that look like puffed cotton are being fed by rising air, where as, unchanging drab clouds are the remains of an earlier event.

 

Is soaring the same as paragliding or hang gliding?

No. Paragliders are efficient parachute-like wings that can be folded into a backpack and carried up a mountain. Flying them is a lot like sitting in a lawn chair at altitude. Hang gliders are more complex ultra-light aircraft, often with exposed struts and wires. Pilots will sometimes fly them face down.

Gliders are designed to be super efficient aircraft with very long wings. The pilot and passenger are enclosed in the cockpit for maximum aerodynamic efficiency and comfort. Some gliders are so efficient they can fly 65 feet through the air for every foot of altitude lost.

 

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